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August 26, 2009


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Why would you go to "elegance" when you have "convergence"? Also, it looks like "virgin". What I'm saying is I got the pronunciation right the first time, score one for the ignorati. Sometimes not being able to spell comes in handy. Not that it's not still a pretty embarrassing misspelled name.

@Jules: My point was that Virgance looks like it *should* be pronounced like "elegance," with a hard "g." Instead, it's counterintuitively pronounced like (con)vergence. Hope that's clearer.

I snorted out loud twice while reading this, Nancy. A good puncturing of head-up-assitude is always fun.

An error like this would make me think twice about trusting a company. They don't follow the rules of pronunciation...why follow any rules at all?

Fascinating post.

I read it as correctly pronounced when I read it the first time. And I'm familiar with the rudiments of English pronunciation. Writing a blog post and an entire blog about nitpicking through people's company names? Who is dripping with condescension now?

Gaol and margarine are the only two English words that I can think of that have the spelling ga pronounced with a soft g. Oh, and then there's that movie Religulous that came out a little while back, which is apparently supposed to be a blend of religion and ridiculous.

@Jonathon: Thanks for reminding me about gaol and margarine--and about Religulous, which I wrote about for that very reason! Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/lzvade

@Allison: Very interesting that you pronounce "Virgance" as "vergence"--I'd love to take a poll and see how many people do the same. As for my "nitpicking," I'm a name developer by profession and am fascinated by brand names in general; this blog is my platform for commentary on the good, the bad, and the baffling. I heap on the praise when it's merited; see my Nicely Named category: http://tinyurl.com/l9gum9

At first I thought soft "g" - because I did indeed think of virgin and convergence. But then I immediately corrected myself; it must be a hard "g," I told myself, being before an "a."

Thanks for such an interesting post.

I had the pronunciation correct when I read it, but maybe that's because I'm Star Wars geek too.

"Quiet, you" is another geek reference. It was popularized by the cartoon character Mr. Peabody, I believe.

So the company is geek friendly, but that's about it.

Reading the word, for a split second I started to think "virg-" with a soft g because of analogy with "virgin", but seeing the whole word I just can't think of it as a soft g. They should have spelled it "verjence" or "vergense" or...oh, I dunno...pick a name that hadn't been already taken!

My first thought on pronunciation was "soft G, like virgin, but it's just so wrong with that spelling."

Many comments about pronunciation--thanks! But what about the arbitrary spelling change from vergence to Virgance, and the erroneous tale about "Virgance" being used in Star Wars? Any Star Wars fans have an issue with that?

It's interesting, a friend of mine is high up in this company so that influences my evaluation of your criticism. I first heard the word as rhyming with "divergence" in my head, with the soft G, even though as you point out that is rare. And if they want to change the name from the made-up thing in Star Wars that's okay I guess... but why be shady about it when it's so easy to follow up on? You're probably right, it was simply that the web site was taken. Wow. I guess that's why you hire someone to help you think of other names!

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